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GARW ATHLETIC F.C.

GARW ATHLETIC F.C. - A BRIEF HISTORY

The Club was formed in August, 1945, as the post-war "football boom" began to sweep the country. The long years of war, following on from the hard times of the Thirties, had resulted in a tremendous re-emergence of interest in the game and the Garw Valley was no exception. Blaengarw Workmen's Hall was the venue for a meeting of Garw Grammar School boys and the long-lost "Boneyard XI", during which it was agreed that a new, permanent Club would be formed and called "Garw Athletic". Friendly games were arranged soon after and the first of these featured Colin Williams, Billy Thomas, Robin Garfield (capt), Ivor Tucker, Roy John, Austin Morgan, Herbert Sotham, John Jones, Elved George, Gwyn Humphries and Bryn Thomas.

The Club progressed quickly and were successful in the Garw Llynfi Under-18 League, going on to dominate the senior scene, winning numerous League Championships and Cups. The Club then sought to bring higher-level football to the Valley and became a member of the Welsh Football League in 1952, with their first fixture being played against Atlas Sports in Swansea. Many honours have been gained by Club members over the years, with thirty-seven gaining Boys Clubs of Wales International Caps. Three members (Ray Smiles, Glyn John and Colin Evans) were awarded F.A.W. Youth caps and Rhys Day of Manchester City and Mansfield gained twelve under-21 caps. Glyn John gained twelve full caps in Rugby Union, while John Devereux played Boys Club international football, gained full caps in rugby for Wales, played for the British & Irish Lions, moved to Rugby League with Widnes and played League for Wales and for Great Britain! The great Roy Paul, of Birmingham and Manchester City, winner of 35 Welsh caps between 1949 and 1856 and of two FA Cup winners medals, played his last-ever competitive match in Garw colours, against Morriston as our player/manager.

Over the 60 years of our history we have had our highs and lows but throughout we have continued to develop young local talent. This was to bear fruit when Kevin Day's young team won the Third Division Championship in 1999 and the Second Division Championship in 2000, taking the Club for the first time in their history into the First Division, with the opportunity to play at an even higher level through the European competitions. Relegation in 2005 was followed by a "promotion win" (which was cruelly denied because of an ineligible player) under young manager Chris Wells in a remarkable turnaround in fortunes. Today the Club provides football for five Saturday teams and five mini-football sides as well as the Welsh League Second Division and Bridgend & District League for adults. It is quite a busy and time-consuming organization and could not survive without a hard-working and dedicated Committee. We will always hold a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked hard in their own time down the years to make this Club a permanent feature in this Rugby-dominated area, but perhaps none more so than Ray Smiles, who, at 76, continues to work for the Club virtually every day.
Thanks to you all!



Article gratefully submitted by
MICHAEL LAMBERT
Chairman, Garw SBGC
September 2006

Michael has requested he would value any historical information such as programmes, photos, advertising sheets etc which anyone could provide, to help us collate and safeguard the history of football (never "soccer"!) in the valley.

He can be reached on the offical Website for the SBGC which can be found here

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